STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Powerball winner's emotional reaction

An Iowa grandmother claims half of the $688 million Powerball prize and pledges to start a charity with her earnings.

Posted: Nov 6, 2018 3:13 PM
Updated: Nov 6, 2018 3:13 PM

An Iowa grandmother won half the $687 million Powerball prize and she didn't even know it at first.

Lerynne West, 51, bought her tickets at Casey's General Store in the small town of Redfield, Iowa, while grabbing pizza and coffee with her sister. She said it was a special day because she had bought her first home and was moving in that day.

West thought she put the lottery ticket in her purse, but she accidentally left it on the floor of her sister's truck. It lay there for a couple days.

When a friend texted the day after the drawing to ask if she had won, West said she hadn't had a chance to check. She rifled through her purse and realized she didn't have the ticket. She quickly called her sister, who found it.

West looked at the photo of the ticket her sister sent her and checked the numbers on the lottery's website -- she had won!

"I told my sister to get in her truck and get that ticket and get up here right now! And, drive slow," West said in an Iowa Lottery press release.

West's ticket and a ticket purchased in New York split the $687 million Powerball jackpot in the October 27 drawing. The holder of the New York ticket has not come forward, according to the Iowa Lottery.

West opted to take home $198.1 million in a lump sum, minus what's taken out in taxes. Her other option was a $343.9 million annuity that would be disbursed over 29 years. She is the winner of the largest lottery prize to date in Iowa.

This single mom is going to pay it forward

West was born and raised in Iowa, hailing from Earlham. Her father was a welder and her mother a stay-at-home mom to West and her seven siblings.

She detassled corn and weeded bean fields to help support her family, she said. She earned a GED and she started a family soon after that.

West raised her three daughters as a single mother, working in the insurance industry. She has six grandchildren. She would play the lottery twice a week when she could afford it.

West began a job working as a procurement analyst for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield in September. After she won the lottery, she retired.

"I know the responsibility that I have to do good with this money, and my life has changed forever," she said in between tears Monday. "I plan to make thoughtful and responsible decisions on giving to my friends, my family and setting up so that my grandchildren will all have a college education."

West is establishing the Callum Foundation, named after her grandson who died after being born in April. "He was born at 24 weeks and he lived for one day," she said.

The organization will give grants in Iowa and beyond, focusing on "poverty and hunger, education, animal welfare, and veteran affairs" according to its website.

While she's going to pay it forward, she's also going to help her family.

The first thing she's going to buy? A new car.

Her Ford Fiesta has 142,000 miles on it and it's seen better days. She said she wants to buy a vehicle that can hold all her grandchildren.

Huntsville/Redstone
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 47°
Muscle Shoals
Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 51°
Huntsville/Madison
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 45°
Decatur
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 45°
Fort Payne
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 40°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 525049

Reported Deaths: 10824
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson757291498
Mobile40509800
Madison34201497
Tuscaloosa25469445
Montgomery24106574
Shelby23257245
Baldwin20815303
Lee15694167
Calhoun14391313
Morgan14183276
Etowah13728350
Marshall12043221
Houston10442280
Elmore10001202
Limestone9872149
Cullman9524191
St. Clair9519236
Lauderdale9301235
DeKalb8780184
Talladega8124174
Walker7160277
Autauga6819107
Jackson6770110
Blount6563133
Colbert6244133
Coffee5438113
Dale4780111
Russell432639
Franklin422081
Chilton4161111
Covington4090116
Tallapoosa3948149
Escambia390475
Dallas3530150
Chambers3527121
Clarke347760
Marion3083100
Pike306776
Lawrence297796
Winston273272
Bibb257362
Marengo248261
Geneva246375
Pickens233459
Barbour228956
Hale219575
Butler214368
Fayette210761
Henry188244
Cherokee183245
Randolph178841
Monroe174440
Washington166238
Macon156849
Clay150956
Crenshaw149857
Cleburne147341
Lamar139834
Lowndes138053
Wilcox125627
Bullock122340
Conecuh109828
Perry107726
Sumter103632
Coosa103128
Greene91534
Choctaw58924
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 839841

Reported Deaths: 12130
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby935471600
Davidson88371927
Knox49996626
Hamilton43575488
Rutherford42477424
Williamson27637215
Sumner23591345
Montgomery19799224
Wilson18569230
Out of TN1804895
Unassigned16945133
Sullivan16318287
Blount15240194
Bradley14701148
Washington14291244
Maury13286170
Sevier13222175
Putnam11227173
Madison10913241
Robertson9645130
Anderson8657172
Hamblen8528171
Greene7777152
Tipton7257101
Coffee6845121
Dickson6765109
Cumberland6624128
Carter6502156
Bedford6458129
Gibson6430145
McMinn640097
Roane6216103
Jefferson6098124
Loudon603869
Hawkins5841106
Lawrence583786
Monroe574995
Warren552681
Dyer5380104
Franklin510588
Fayette495576
Obion450696
Cheatham448555
Cocke445198
Lincoln432563
Rhea431875
Marshall413958
Campbell411262
Weakley404464
Giles396499
Henderson374976
Macon359077
Carroll358682
White356468
Hardin352866
Hardeman347264
Lauderdale315144
Henry313175
Marion311047
Claiborne309373
Scott306145
Overton299061
Wayne294534
Hickman281146
McNairy278554
DeKalb276553
Smith275339
Haywood268661
Grainger260049
Trousdale249322
Morgan246739
Fentress238747
Johnson234538
Chester210751
Bledsoe210311
Crockett202048
Polk200924
Unicoi196849
Cannon189731
Union187234
Grundy178434
Humphreys175722
Lake169526
Sequatchie167228
Benton163440
Decatur157739
Lewis156826
Meigs136124
Stewart131328
Jackson130935
Clay109931
Houston108833
Perry105728
Moore100317
Van Buren83823
Pickett75724
Hancock56112

Community Events